Chung and others have natural constituencies in their own ethnic groups: Chung with Korean-Americans; Joselyn Geaga Yap, Filipino-Americans; and Keith Umemoto, who has the backing of state Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti and the smaller Japanese-American community.
Because Latinos account for about 20% of the registered voters, demographics would seem to help Kathleen Torres, the only Latino in the contest.
One campaign tactic is to target ethnic voters through computerized lists of surnames. But this is impossible to do for Yap campaigners because so many Filipinos have Latin names, an aide said. Burke said there is no way for him to target gays and lesbians, who live primarily in West Hollywood and Silver Lake, except to find households with registered voters of the same sex and different names. He found one such address housing a number of women only to discover that it was a convent. Sal Genovese claims he has the best Democratic credentials because he lost to Roos in the 1990 election.
Republican voters pose another wild card. Because this is an open primary, they can vote for other party members if they wish rather than the single GOP candidate, Geoffrey Church, who is assured of a spot in the runoff.
Chung has sought GOP votes by billing himself as the most conservative potential winner. But Emerson sent a letter to voters from Sheriff Sherman Block, a Republican, saying: "I want to make sure that the best Democrat running is elected."
Adam Schiff, the young former assistant U. S. attorney who boasted of winning 70 cases without a loss, challenged Emerson's city prosecutor record in a brochure by claiming he "never prosecuted a felony case." Neither has John Ladner, but as a court commissioner he has presided over them.
In recent days, some observers saw movement within the campaign of former Roos aide Michael Cacciotti, an energetic young community organizer who issued mailers attacking Emerson and Burke for being carpetbaggers with no anti-crime records within the 46th District.
Campaign managers have agreed that the candidate who managed to walk the most precincts and talk to the most voters would win. But emphasis has shifted to the critical end game of getting the right voters to the polls. The election is being conducted under city voting rules that prevent the massive vote-by-mail drives typical of special legislative elections.
46th Assembly District Race
A look at the candidates in the June 4 special election:
Bob Burke, 48, is a land-use planning expert and lawyer who is bidding to be the first openly gay person to win a seat in the state Legislature. Burke, a graduate of UCLA Law School, entered politics in Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign and has served on the Los Angeles City Building and Safety Appeals Board.
Michael Cacciotti, 31, holds bachelor's and master's degrees from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla. He has worked for the last five years in Sacramento and in the 46th District as an aide to Assemblyman Mike Roos, whose resignation created the need for a special election. Cacciotti has been active in programs in the district to assist senior citizens and young people and helped start a youth soccer league.
T. S. Chung, 35, emigrated with his family from South Korea in 1970 and is a graduate of Harvard, Princeton and UCLA Law School. He was a financial analyst for Exxon and in 1986 became a founding partner of the law firm Kim & Andrews.
John Emerson, 37, on leave as chief deputy to City Atty. James K. Hahn, is a law graduate of the University of Chicago who worked from 1984 to 1987 as a partner in the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Tunney. He was deputy manager of Gary Hart's 1987-1988 presidential campaign and was a member of the Los Angeles Commission on Charter Reform.
Barbara Friedman, 41, is a graduate of UC Berkeley who worked from 1973 to 1978 as an organizer in the South for the Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). She worked for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and affiliated unions before serving from 1983 to 1985 as chief of staff to Assemblyman Burt Margolin. Since 1985, she has been deputy to City Controller Rick Tuttle.
Sal Genovese, 45, attended Los Angeles City College and Cal State Los Angeles and is owner and executive director of an outpatient treatment center for alcohol and drug abuse. Genovese ran for the 46th District seat in 1988 and 1990, for mayor of Los Angeles in 1985 and for the Los Angeles City Council in 1987.
Jill Halverson, 49, a graduate of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, was a Peace Corps volunteer in India from 1965 to 1967, served as a welfare worker on Skid Row from 1972 to 1977 and in 1978 founded the Downtown Women's Center of Los Angeles for the homeless and mentally disturbed. She is executive director of the center.